More and more with tech Project Managers, we’re seeing a multi-discipline approach to the role, ditching the “old ways” of project management in favor of agility and adding extra value to the team.
One of these approaches is to be an analytical Project Manager, incorporating tactics from the typical Business Analyst role into day-to-day facilitation of the project.
I originally started at Perficient as a Business Analyst, transitioning into Project Management as I continued in my career. I carried over this BA mindset into my management style, which I found gave me an edge for impressing clients and getting more value out of my workday.
Below are some of the lessons I’ve learned during my career on approaching project management from an analyst perspective – try them out on your project and see the difference!
Identify Patterns Within Project Metrics
Your project will be defined in some metric(s) of success – it could be % complete for a website build, or amount migrated for a content migration. Regularly analyzing these metrics is extremely beneficial for noting the team’s strengths / weaknesses and creating a plan for improving productivity.
Don’t just look at high-level monthly figures – you can use your team’s backlog management software (like Azure DevOps or Jira) to configure a dashboard for yourself to see weekly progress, when milestones are hit, and individual team contributions.
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You should be tracking these metrics as your team moves through the project and analyzing progress for any patterns or surprises. If there is a lull in progress on a given week, think about the factors that could contribute to this – folks on PTO, work difficulty, tool familiarity, etc. If there are improvements to be made, raise them to the team & implement as soon as possible.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be shielded from the client – if your team is actively looking for and remediating any weaknesses to provide more value, your client will likely be pleased with your transparency and willingness to further improve on their behalf.
Document New & Repeatable Processes
Requirements documentation isn’t solely for technical processes – it can be used in project management too. One of the best things you can do as a PM is document, document, document. If you find that you keep answering the same questions about the same processes (onboarding, timecard submittal, etc.), document that process in a wiki or shared repository where you can direct your team when they ask.
This is an extremely beneficial practice for client-side processes as well – if you’re able to document and educate client team members on an updated business process, you become the SME for that topic. Anywhere you can help your client do less work, you’re providing value.
Example: On a recent healthcare engagement, I (as the PM) created documentation & how-to videos on using a newly rolled-out client timecard submittal process and shared it with our client team. They continue to use that documentation and reference it to their coworkers outside of our team.
Sync With a Team Member for a Quick Walkthrough of the Solution Early On
In my time as a Project Manager, I’ve found greater success on my projects when I’m more familiar technically with our solution & development tools. As a PM, you don’t necessarily need extensive technical knowledge – this is where Business Analyst thinking comes in. Sync with one of your BA or technical team members for an overview of the solution you are working on: see an example of the requirements documentation your team is producing, understand the types of tasks the dev team has, and get familiar with the jargon. When you have a good grasp of the technical work your team is doing, you can more confidently discuss the project with your client team, and you increase your value as the go-to for project questions & needs.
There are many project management strategies out there – finding what fits your PM style & team is key. Try out the above tips, see what works for you, and always be looking for ways to improve.
For more tips on project management, make sure to check out this post: 5 Time Management Strategies to Implement as a Project Manager